Does Your Inside Match Your Outside?

Many years ago, I had the opportunity to spend some time with a pastor and leader, who I'd long admired.  When I was younger, this person had played a distant, but pivotal role in my return to the Church and to faith, and I was thrilled when (after becoming an ordained minister) I was finally able to meet with him as a peer.

What I discovered, however, was that the person on the stage--the one I'd admired from afar--was far different than the man I was getting to know more personally.  The man I came to know was not at all what I had once imagined him to be.  He was cynical, arrogant and often boorish in his behavior.  

It was incredibly disappointing, but it also served as a valuable lesson I have returned to time and again:  It's what you do--not what you say or even believe to be true about yourself--that reveals who you really are. 

During this Lenten journey, I find myself thinking about that lesson anew, and asking myself some important questions:  "Do my actions reveal that I am following Jesus? Or am I saying one thing and living another?"  

We might have the very best of intentions to follow Jesus, and maybe we say all the right things and can recite the right Scripture passages and are able to spout off all kinds of theological mumbo-jumbo that make us sound as Christian-y as possible.  But if our feet are not following in his footsteps, we're probably not walking in the Way of Christ.  

Leo Tolstoy once wrote: "Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself." 

As you journey further into Lent, take the time to internalize this lesson, and don't be afraid to ask yourself if you are living in such a way that it is evident that you are following Jesus.  Don't be afraid to be truthful about whether your inside matches your outside.  

May you be willing to be transformed and shaped into the kind of person who not only declares their love and loyalty to Christ but also shows it each and every day.  May you realize that the Resurrection change you seek in the world begins in your own heart.  

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen. 


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